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In Appreciation: Glenda Jackson

A Career in Three Acts

Glenda Jackson, one of the most celebrated actresses of all time and recipient of the Triple Crown of Acting among a multiplicity of other honors, is dead at age 87. “Glenda Jackson, two-time Academy Award-winning actress and politician, died peacefully at her home in Blackheath, London, this morning after a brief illness with her family at her side,” her agent, Lionel Larner, said in a statement, according to The Guardian. The actress was born in 1936 in Cheshire, England, and attended the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts. Jackson made her film debut in 1963 with A Sporting Life, and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in ‘64. She then earned acclaim for her performance in Marat/Sade in both London and New York, which earned her first Tony Award nomination. She reprised the role in the film version of the play in 1967.

As one of the most awarded actresses of early ‘70s film and television, she received Academy Award nominations for Best Actress in ‘70, ‘71, ‘73, and ‘75. She won in both ‘70 and ‘73, for Women in Love and A Touch of Class, respectively. In 1972, she won two Emmy Awards for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in the UK series Elizabeth R, a miniseries following Elizabeth’s life and broadcast in the United States on PBS.

In 1991, Jackson gave up acting to run for Parliament, as a member of the Labour Party. She won her seat in 1992 and was an MP from ‘92 through 2015. A socialist, she was a notable critic of both Thatcherism and of Margaret Thatcher herself, at one point critiquing Thatcher in Parliament soon after her death and angering member of the Conservative Party. She resigned in 2015, and took up acting again.

Later in life, Jackson starred in multiple notable theatrical productions, including Broadway productions of Three Tall Women in 2018, for which she won her first Tony, completing the Triple Crown of Acting after four prior nominations, and a 2019 version of King Lear in which she played King Lear.